Today is Thursday; 12th of the Iranian month of Tir 1399 solar hijri, corresponding to 10th of the Islamic month of Zilqa’dah 1441 lunar hijri; and July 2, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1057 solar years ago, on this day in 963 AD, the Byzantine army proclaimed Nikephorus Phocas II as Emperor on the plains outside Cappadocia in what is now central Turkey. A notorious enemy of Muslims, during his 6-year reign and before that as an army commander, Nikephorus Phocas had seized the Muslim emirate of the island of Crete, and led frequent raids into Syria against Sayf od-Dowla, the ruler of the Hamdanid Shi’ite Muslim dynasty of Aleppo. Several times he was beaten with heavy losses. In Crete he pillaged the flourishing cities, destroying mosques, libraries, bathhouses, bazaars, and irrigation canals. The capital Rabz al-Khandaq, where currently the city of Heraklion stands, was totally destroyed. Cretan Muslims were either killed or carried off into slavery, while the emir, Abdul-Aziz ibn Shu’ayb, and his son Nu’man were taken captive to Constantinople and forced to become Christians. On the western front, after renouncing his payments of tribute to the Shi’ite Muslim Fatemid dynasty of North Africa, he attacked, but was forced by defeats on land and sea to evacuate the island completely. In 967 he had to make peace with the Fatemids. In 969, he was assassinated by his wife, Empress Theophano and her new her lover – his own nephew (sister’s son), John I Tzimiskes, who now styled himself emperor.
1052 lunar years ago, on this day in 389 AH, the Iranian Samanid Dynasty of Central Asia and Khorasan collapsed with the fall of its capital Bukhara (currently in Uzbekistan) to the Turkic chieftain Ilak Khan, son of Bughra Khan Qarakhanid, after 185 years of rule.
615 lunar years ago, on this day in 826 AH, the astronomer and mathematician, Sibt al-Maridini, was born in Egypt. Named Mohammad by his father Mohammad Ibn al-Ghazal, his mother was the daughter of the reputed astronomer, Abdullah al-Mardini; hence he became known as "Sibt al-Maridini”. He authored some fifty treatises in astronomy (sine quadrants, sundials, astronomical tables and prayer times) and wrote at least twenty-three books on mathematics. Among his works are "Sharh ar-Rahbiyah” and "Daqa’eq al-Haqa’eq”.
504 solar years ago, on this day in 1566 AD, French apothecary, astrologer and supposed seer, Michel de Nostredame, known by his Latin name "Nostradamus” died at the age of 63. He published collections of so-called prophecies that have since become famous. The first edition appeared in his lifetime in 1555. He has since attracted a following that credits him with predicting many major world events. Academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus’ quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Nevertheless, many have used a process of free interpretation and determined ‘twisting’ of his words to predict an apparently imminent event. For example, in 1867, three years before it happened, Le Pelletier did so to anticipate either the triumph or the defeat of Napoleon III in a war that, in the event, begged to be identified as the Franco-Prussian war, while admitting that he could not specify either which or when. There have also been several well-known Internet hoaxes, where quatrains in the style of Nostradamus have been circulated by e-mail as the real thing. The best-known examples concern the collapse of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 that led to hoaxes and to reinterpretations by enthusiasts of several quatrains as supposed prophecies. With the advent of 2012 Nostradamus’s alleged prophecies started to be co-opted as evidence suggesting that the end of the world is imminent, notwithstanding the fact that his book never mentions the end of the world, let alone the year 2012.
475 solar years ago, on this day in 1555 AD, the Ottoman Admiral Turgut Ra’ees, who was Greek Christian before conversion to Islam, sacked the Italian city of Paola in retaliation for the Christian raids on Turkish Muslim possessions in the Mediterranean Sea.
411 lunar years ago, on this day in 1030 AH, the famous jurisprudent, Shaikh Fakhr od-Din Mohammad Ibn Shaikh Hassan, a grandson of the celebrated Shaikh Zayn od-Din Shaheed Thani (the Second Martyr), passed away in holy Mecca and was laid to rest in the now destroyed Jannat al-Mu’alla Cemetery near the tomb of Omm al-Momineen, Hazrat Khadija (peace upon her), the loyal wife of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). He lived most of his life in Mecca and was a prolific writer. Among his works are commentaries on Shaikh at-Ta’efa Tusi’s "al-Istibsaar” and "at-Tahzeeb” – two of the four principal books of hadith and jurisprudence. This talented grandson of the Second Martyr was also an excellent poet in Arabic and has written a moving elegy on the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS) – which Shaikh Hurr al-Ameli has included in his book "Amal al-Amel”.
242 solar years ago, on this day in 1778 AD, French author and thinker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, died. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, he joined social discussions as of the age of 40 and started publishing his viewpoints which later became well-known. His ideological, political, and social works profoundly influenced the French people and some thinkers believe that his views were among the reasons that shaped the French revolution. Among his books, are "The Social Contract”, "Emile”, and "The Confessions”.
131 solar years ago, on this day in 1889 AD, Portuguese rule ended in Brazil with the final defeat of the monarchists in the province of Bahia. The Portuguese royal family had shifted to Brazil following the occupation of Portugal by Napoleon. With the end of the Napoleonic wars, King Joaop VI moved back to Portugal leaving his son as regent, who later declared himself Pedro I as independent ruler of Brazil. When monarchial rule ended in Brazil Pedro II was the emperor, whose reforms such as abolishment of slavery in 1888, angered plantation owners. A year later, the republicans toppled the monarchy and Brazil became a republic.
95 solar years ago, on this day in 1925 AD, Congo’s independence leader, Patrice Lumumba, was born. He struggled against Belgian rule, and after independence was instated as the premier and the minister of defense. His downfall was brought about by the US which backed the military rebellion in Katanga Province and had him dismissed from his post by the Congo president. In 1961, this freedom fighter was murdered after suffering barbaric tortures at the hand of mercenaries of the US and Belgium. With the publication of the reports on his death, a wave of popular protests swept across Congo and other African states. Lumumba has left behind several books including "Congo My Country”.
59 solar years ago, on this day in 1961 AD, the American author, Ernest Hemingway, died at the age of 62. For a while, he worked as a reporter in England and France. He was the innovator of short stories in simple language. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Among his books, are "The Old Man and the Sea”, "A Farewell to Arms”, and "For Whom the Bell Tolls”.
96 solar years ago, on this day in 1924 AD, Iranian poet and political writer, Seyyed Mohammad Reza Kordestani, popular as Mirzadeh Eshqi, was killed at the age of 31 in his own house in Tehran by unknown gunmen, believed to be agents of the British-imposed premier, Reza Khan (later Pahlavi), whom he used to bitterly criticize in his newspaper articles. Born in Hamadan to Seyyed Abo’l-Qasem Kordestani, he learned French in the Ecole d’Alliance, and moved to Istanbul for a while. He is particularly famous for writing the opera "Rastakhiz Iran” (Resurrected Iran), which was a reflection of his patriotic spirit. After returning to Iran, he settled in Tehran and published newspapers in which he fiercely attacked the political system of the country. He is remembered for writing six plays. His "Nowruz-Nameh” is particularly famous. He also published a paper called "Twentieth Century” and predicted his early death repeatedly. He was buried in the Ibn Babawaiyh Cemetery in Rayy.
30 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, some 1402 Hajj pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside a tunnel leading to Mecca from Mena, because of the mismanagement of traffic police and security officials of the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia. It was one of the worst tragedies during the annual Hajj, until it was surpassed in 2015 when thousands of pilgrims, many of them from the Islamic Republic of Iran were trampled to death because of the closing of the main highway in Mena through which Mohammad bin Salman the son of the Saudi ruler, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, drove in a reckless manner, indifferent to the plight of the pilgrims.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)